Shocker: Rodriguez Fails To Make Weights As Boxing's Prodigal Son Andre Ward Returns

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Andre Ward is an efficient fighter

[BoxingGlove Notes]

After he cleaned up and won the “Super-Sixes”-168 pound W.B.A. Crown Tournament defeating the top worldwide super middleweights, Arthur Abraham, Mikkel Kessler, Allan Green, Sakio Bika, and Carl Froch in the finals, and then went on to defeat an emaciated “Bad” Chad Dawson by t.k.o. in the 10th round in September 8, 2012, Andre “Son Of God” Ward just “disappeared” from the ring, and became a part-time boxing analyst.

Suddenly, for about the last 2 months press conferences were held not only announcing the “return” of Ward but, that he was defending his titles against journeyman undefeated #1 contender, Edwin “La Bomba”-the bomb- Rodriguez, 24-0, 16 knockouts. What was billed as a championship fight takes place on Saturday, November 16, 2013, at the Citizens Business Bank Arena, Ontario, California.

(But in a stunning development Friday, Rodriguez failed to make weight. He was at 170 pounds, two over the limit of 168. The fight will go on but even if Rodriguez wins he doesn't get the belt).

After being bombarded with questions as to why he had not fought for so long, Andre Ward, 26-0, 14 k.o.’s, W.B.A. and Ring Magazine Super Middleweight Champion, explained that he had incurred a right shoulder injury when he was 12 years old which had been bothering since then and when he defeated Dawson it was an excellent time to try to repair that injury which actually took 14 months away from ring activity for proper rest and recuperation.

Ward has expressed a deep anger and frustration because the accusations from the Rodriguez camp was that he was trying to “duck” him and fight easy opponents when he-Rodriguez- was the right opponent. “Now they think that they could bully me and take my title because I have been away for so long and I might be rusty. What they don’t know is the fact that as I rehabbed my shoulder, I ran, and did my exercises so I am not out of condition.”

Edwin Rodriguez who was born in the Dominican Republic, was a top amateur fighter win a record of 84-9 which included winning the U.S.A. Boxing Championships in 2005, the National Golden Gloves in 2006, and was a member of the 2008 Olympic team. Surprisingly, he also told us that he had sparred several rounds with the Boston Marathon bombing suspect, the late Tamerlan Tsarmaev, who was really a very good amateur fighter. Rodriguez then turned pro in 2008, under the tutelage of trainer Ronnie Shields. La Bomba has been so impressive in his professional undefeated career that he is now ranked #1 by the W.B.C., #3 by the I.B.F. and W.B.A., and #7 by the Ring Magazine in the Super Middleweight category.

“This is my one opportunity after waiting so long to make up for lost time and to win my world title, and I am grateful that Ward kept his word and gave me my chance. I have trained very hard in camp to be better than in my other fights. I was in San Francisco in a high altitude area to strengthen my lungs and improve my stamina because I know how good Ward is and I cannot go into that ring less than him,” declared a confident Rodriguez before today's shocking news.

Andre Ward started his boxing career very young in 1994 and amassed a record of 115-5 and did not lose a fight from 1998 to 2004. Ward was a National Champ in 2002, and was also a two time U.S. National Champ in 2001 & 2003. He captured Olympic Gold in 2004 as a Light Heavyweight in Athens, Greece. Ward then made his professional debut on December 18, 2004 knocking out veteran Chris Molina, which led to the Super-Sixes championship title contest.

Many questioned Ward’s ability to come back from surgery and be as effective as he was before, but he stated that he is a much focused person who does not forget that he is not fighting for himself but for his family, his Wife and 4 kids. He further states that his trainer Virgil Hunter has been like a father to him from the very beginning who would not allow him to fall into bad habits. “I have  done my homework on Edwin and that is how you prepare for an opponent of this caliber so that you don’t lose, and I don’t intend to lose. I love to be competitive, and I love to win, that’s why I worked so hard,” Ward further stated.

Could Edwin Rodriguez shock the boxing world and defeat a 14 months off and shoulder repaired Andre Ward who also has been labeled a possible pound for pound candidate? Well, Rodriguez is a come at you fighter very strong, same height as Ward but perhaps stronger, and very eager to fight.

Could that in effect be Rodriguez’ downfall since Ward is a very calculating fighter on the category of Floyd “Money” Mayweather, and Bernard “The Alien” Hopkins, who out think you and throw enough punches to confuse you plus, they are master of defense and that is how they defeat you. 

They always come in with a “master plan”, and that’s the way I see it. Ward is a very astute “ring mechanic” that is not “ruffled” by anything you do or for that matter how you will fight him. Remember how he-Ward-manipulated, confused, kept off balance all of his opponents in the Super Middleweight tournament. Remember these were European Champs the best and undefeated of their respective countries and he beat them soundly, and then went on to knockout the Light Heavyweight Champ, “Bad” Chad Dawson.

What troubles me about Ward is that he has permitted himself to languish in a non-active and competitive weight level of 168 pounds, or super middleweight. After he defeats Rodriguez, who, what, or where is his next challenger at that weight? Should he challenge those fighters he has already beaten?

What I don’t understand is since Andre Ward won gold in the Olympics as a Light Heavyweight, why doesn’t he campaign at that weight. There are a least 2 mega challengers at that weight, I.B.F. Champ Bernard Hopkins, and I.B.O. Champ, Adonis “Superman” Stevens.

If Andre Ward wants to establish a pound for pound legacy then this would his next move, as I see it. I fear that he will become like the “over-ripen” fruit on the vine that will never see his greatness because he preferred to stay at a weight level with no quality opponents, and that is more dangerous career-wise, than being on the boxing disabled list for 14 months.

Andre Ward wins by a unanimous decision; Edwin Rodriguez, I feel, is too tough to be knocked out even though Ward scored 14 k.o.’s. 

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